Idempotent conjunctive and disjunctive combination of belief functions by distance minimization

Abstract : Idempotence is a desirable property when cautiousness is wanted in an information fusion process, since in this case combining identical information should not lead to the reinforcement of some hypothesis. Idempotent operators also guarantee that identical information items are not counted twice in the fusion process, a very important property in decentralized applications where the information origin cannot always be tracked (ad-hoc wireless networks are typical examples). In the theory of belief functions, a sound way to combine conjunctively multiple information items is to design a combination rule that selects the least informative element among a subset of belief functions more informative than each of the combined ones. In contrast, disjunctive rules can be retrieved by selecting the most informative element among a subset of belief functions less informative than each of the combined ones. One interest of such approaches is that they provide idempotent rules by construction. The notions of less and more informative are often formalized through partial orderings extending usual set-inclusion, yet the only two informative partial orders that provide a straightforward idempotent rule leading to a unique result are those based on the conjunctive and disjunctive weight functions. In this article, we show that other partial orders can achieve a similar goal when the problem is slightly relaxed into a distance optimization one. Building upon previous work, this paper investigates the use of distances compatible with informative partial orders to determine a unique solution to the combination problem. The obtained operators are conjunctive/disjunctive, idempotent and commutative, but lack associativity. They are, however, quasi-associative allowing sequential combinations at no extra complexity. Some experiments demonstrate interesting discrepancies as compared to existing approaches, notably with the aforementioned rules relying on weight functions.
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International Journal of Approximate Reasoning, Elsevier, A Paraître, 92, pp.32-48. 〈https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0888613X17301470〉
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John Klein, Sebastien Destercke, Olivier Colot. Idempotent conjunctive and disjunctive combination of belief functions by distance minimization. International Journal of Approximate Reasoning, Elsevier, A Paraître, 92, pp.32-48. 〈https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0888613X17301470〉. 〈hal-01629745〉

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